Traditional means of developing and empowering audiences to build networks and communities have been greatly enhanced in recent years by the development of digital and new social media (Gazi et. Al., 2011). This joint-paper investigates the attempts of one community radio station to achieve the social and cultural aims of building a community in the digital age. Raidió na Life is a community radio station in Dublin, broadcasting on a 24/7 basis to a mixed and dispersed population of Irish language speakers (Ó Drisceoil,
2007). One of the original aims the station was to build a sense of community and of linguistic empowerment among these unconnected people (Walsh and Day, 2018). Data generated by interview and focus group reveal that volunteers seem to lack a sense of themselves as language or as community activists. Yet the performances of their roles as voluntary broadcasters, particularly in their engagement with their audiences on air and on-line, appear to be having the desired effect of continuing the work of developing networks and community that began 25 years ago (Day, 2012).
The paper concludes that social, communicative and cultural benefits can accrue through traditional broadcasting and new social media, even where practitioners are unaware of this dimension to their work.